Does Effexor affect taste? (+2 evidences)

In this article, we will discuss if Effexor causes a change in taste during the treatment plan. Effexor is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) and is used in the treatment of anxiety, panic attacks, and social anxiety disorder, It might lift your spirit, and give you more energy. 

Does Effexor affect taste?

Yes, Effexor can change the taste perception. Clinical data suggests that Effexor can alter the taste in the patient taking the medication. It is a common side effect of the drug and is induced due to the changes in serotonin and noradrenaline neurotransmitters.

It has been reported that changes in serotonin and noradrenaline levels can affect how bitter things taste. Serotonin levels alone have an impact on how sweet things taste, and noradrenaline alone has an impact on the taste of sour things.

These important neurotransmitters have been identified in taste buds and are released from taste cells when a flavour, like sugar, simulates the cell. If a depressed person has lower levels of serotonin or noradrenaline in their bodies, this could potentially have an impact on their taste buds. Similarly, when taking Effexor, changes in serotonin and noradrenaline levels will have an impact on taste and taste buds.

How does Effexor affect taste?

There are four types of taste modifications reported in the literature including:

  • Hypogeusia: Diminished taste sense,
  • Dysgeusia: taste distortion,
  • Ageusia: taste loss (1).

Taste problems are linked to changed levels of serotonin (5-HT), and noradrenaline (NA) in conditions including depression and anxiety. This suggests the importance of transmitters in determining the threshold of health and illness related to taste buds (2).

In a study, the administration of 5-HT reuptake inhibitors, and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors suggested that enhancing 5-HT dramatically decreased the sucrose taste threshold by 27% and the quinine taste threshold by 53% in healthy humans (2).

What does research suggest?

In a double-blind, cross-over study, patients on Effexor reported taste change,  nausea, dizziness, headache, decreased appetite, and constipation. After 2 weeks, Effexor was associated with more taste changes and other symptoms (4).

In a randomized controlled study, Effexor treatment was terminated in patients with fibromyalgia due to odd taste, taste alteration, sleepiness, dizziness, blurred vision, hallucinations, urine issues, and sexual dysfunction (5). 

Another study reported the use of Effexor in Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS). In five out of eight cases, the results of the bilateral tongue taste test using a solution that was sweet, sour, bitter, or salty, were abnormal. The patients also reported alteration in taste (6).

How does the change in taste affect life?

Numerous drugs that have an impact on taste, smell and salivation can cause patients to alter their drinking or eating habits, Due to underlying fragility and increased incidence of polypharmacy, the elderly are especially affected. 

Some of the affected patients lose weight and develop nutritional deficits as a result of consuming fewer calories, Some attempt to make up for it by disguising symptoms with more drins, sugar, or salt. As one might expect, this modification may result in polyuria, incontinence, or worsening of pre-existing illnesses like hypertension.

Since many elderly people are frail, they are especially susceptible to negative health consequences. When a patient has low physiological or social reserve even small changes, such as changes in taste and smell, can be upsetting enough to be harmful.

When to consult the prescriber?

Your medical condition and response to Effexor usually determine the dosage of your drug. Your prescriber may advise you to begin taking Effexor at a low dose and increase it gradually to lower your risk of experiencing a change in taste. To get the most out of Effexor, take it daily. 

Never discontinue using Effexor without first talking to your prescriber. Stopping this drug abruptly may make certain conditions worse. To minimize side effects, you might need to progressively lower your dosage. 

It can take a few weeks for Effexor to start working. During this time the patient might experience side effects like a change in taste and night sweats. Inform your physician if your condition gets worse.

Clinically, identifying patients who have taste alteration related to Effexor is crucial because these changes can promote poor medication compliance and have a deleterious impact on managing chronic depression. Reduced taste can also lead to a greater craving for sugar or salt, which can make treating diseases like diabetes and hypertension more difficult.


In this article, we have discussed the impact of Effexor on the taste. We also discussed how the change in taste can affect your life and what on should do if Effexor changes your taste perception. 

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Mikhail C, Elgaaly K, Abd El Latif Abd El Hamid A, Shaker O, Ali S. Gustatory Dysfunction among a Sample of Depressed Egyptian Adults under Antidepressants Therapy: A Retrospective Cohort Study. International Journal of Dentistry. 2021 Mar 4;2021:1-0.


Heath TP, Melichar JK, Nutt DJ, Donaldson LF. Human taste thresholds are modulated by serotonin and noradrenaline. Journal of Neuroscience. 2006 Dec 6;26(49):12664-71.


Buijs C, Mom CH, Willemse PH, Marike Boezen H, Maurer JM, Wymenga AM, De Jong RS, Nieboer P, De Vries EG, Mourits MJ. Venlafaxine versus clonidine for the treatment of hot flashes in breast cancer patients: a double-blind, randomized cross-over study. Breast cancer research and treatment. 2009 Jun;115:573-80.


Ramzy EA. Comparative efficacy of newer antidepressants in combination with pregabalin for fibromyalgia syndrome: a controlled, randomized study. Pain Practice. 2017 Jan;17(1):32-40.


Mitsikostas DD, Ljubisavljevic S, Deligianni CI. Refractory burning mouth syndrome: clinical and paraclinical evaluation, comorbidities, treatment and outcome. The journal of headache and pain. 2017 Dec;18(1):1-6.

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